A reference both to Rochdale and the amazing statistic that we got a point over the weekend…
That was of course all it was, and nothing more. Thankfully, you can always rely on a haiku from Tudor if all else fails:
Taylor in defence…
Ardley’s fear of conceding –
Infecting whole team.
At least we can stop pretending that we’re not horseshit, by making our entrance into the bottom four.
And I think this weekend became a bit of a turning point for many. I read NA’s comments before writing this, and the universal reaction to it was pretty telling.
I believe the expression is “tone deaf”.
If I (and others) didn’t know better, I would say they came from a manager of a team comfortably in mid-table, who’s just simply going through a lean spell, with otherwise potent strikers simply not got their scoring boots on at the moment.
Maybe Ardley genuinely believes he’s in charge of such a team? Or maybe he knows, deep down, that he has utterly fucked up with poor transfer dealings and an even poorer adherence to a failed formation.
There’s no reason for playing Lyle Taylor out wide except for dogmatic reasons. The chants from the fans to “Brimful of Asha” about this very subject clearly got heard, and it feels very similar to the “4-4-2” chants at Crawley.
My guess here (and it’s only a guess) is that NA has been given October to give some resemblance of turning it around. I believe that for two reasons – firstly, like TB before him, the club is a bit too emotionally attached to him, which I think is the biggest weakness we have at AFCW.
Not just to NA specifically, but the notion that anything that doesn’t have Wimbledon FC connections is akin to placing a pork chop in a mosque.
Secondly, at least in terms of getting reinforcements in, there isn’t a lot any other manager can do right now. Of course, that isn’t nearly the whole story of our current plight, and I think our problems are deeper (and have been even before Franchise in March), but we’ll be relying on Darius up front for a little while yet.
But I expect NA to have been given a massive rocket up his arse by the club. I expect – not hope – that he’s been put under serious pressure now. And I expect – not hope – that he’s been told he’s not unsackable after all.
Maybe he wasn’t aiming his post-match comments to the fans, but to the board instead? It would explain a lot if so.
I note the party line this morning is that we’re only losing by one or two goals, rather than the 3 or 4 that ultimately scuppered TB. Or as somebody else put it, we can get relegated only conceding 40 goals instead of 80.
I also note that people are saying all we just need are one or two goals and we’ll be fine. Except the problem is when we do achieve that, we revert to awful type in the next game(s) very quickly.
If that was the case, we would have kicked on after Doncaster and especially after Blackburn. It didn’t happen. And it’s not likely to again either.
If anything, I think we saw the first real cracks over this weekend, especially when we need to be ultra-pragmatic now and we end up with the ideological approach instead.
With this in mind, I wonder what the players really think at the moment. Ignore what they say to media, the OS or on social media – they’re trained to say that, and it’s very rare they drop their guard.
I note a fair few people after Saturday were suggesting that our heads dropped a bit in the second half instead. That I don’t know, but I definitely know Appiah was doing WDON commentary and he said at the end that it was a bit tame. Make of that what you care to.
It can’t be easy for them at the moment. They’re struggling on the field, a lot of them have played in better setups beforehand, and they’re being shoehorned into a system that doesn’t work and they don’t appear comfortable in.
I’ve seen us play against Franchise, Fleetwood, Blackpool and Gills this season, and the only time I’ve walked away thinking we gave it a damn good go was Gillingham. A game where I thought we genuinely turned the corner.
The others? They all had a depressingly familiar pattern of us going behind, and the players acting as if they knew they’ll never get back into the game. I’m in no doubt that if Rochdale had gone ahead on Saturday, it would be exactly the same story.
But then, I’m reliably informed that the shackles were removed for Gills and Blackburn, and came back on again afterwards…
The players do have to turn up for games, at least officially. The same restriction doesn’t apply to supporters, and the crowds dropping also tell its own sorry tale.
Let’s not sugar-coat this – people are bored with negative, unadventurous, fearful, let’s-not-dare-to-win-a-game crap that has been served up since 2016/17 and is failing miserably to boot. KM isn’t the nicest place to watch games anyway, but you can’t blame punters for skipping games there now.
Loyalty only goes so far, even (or especially) at AFCW. There’s only so many times you can put a load of peanuts in a turd and keep calling it a Lion Bar.
One suspects that might be the tipping point as far as the club itself goes – it relies on supporters generosity, probably too much, and you simply cannot drive away one of your main sources of income.
Be honest – right now, you go to games mainly to meet your mates and get some enjoyment being in their company. If you and they decide to spend Saturdays in a pub instead, that’s another pint of beer the club doesn’t sell.
You still win, because your social life is still intact, and you don’t waste it looking at more one-star entertainment. The club loses more income, but can you say they deserve the custom at the moment?
It’s not all a one-way street, where AFCW itself doesn’t give back. You have to make people want to be there, and right now they’re finding other things to do on a weekend.
And no, I don’t blame them.
Still, we are where we are. We’ve still got three months before things can properly be altered, and that is a l–o–n–g time to keep doing the same thing over and over again.
One thing is clear though – life may well start to get interesting…